This Week: PowerPoint Karaoke!

That’s right! PowerPoint Karaoke returns for its monthly show this Thursday night!

Make yourself available on October 25th, at 10:00pm! Doors will open at 9:30pm, so arrive early and have a beer! There’s food in the theater, too!

This month’s presenters are: Nick Decker, Molly Cathryn Glover, Kevin McLaughlin, and Duck Washington!

This month’s judges will be: Lacey Anne Zeiler and Matthew Foster!

And this time, I’ll be back running slides! BOOYAH!

Tickets are $7 ($5 with a MN Fringe button), and can be purchased at the Bryant Lake Bowl website!
http://bryantlakebowl.com/calendar/shows/powerpoint-karaoke-8

If you like doing the Facebook thing, you can do that here:
http://www.facebook.com/#!/events/290970384345158/

Please attend! Laugh! Drink beer!

Fantastic Fest 2012: Day 7

Øystein Karlsen Drinking Shots Between Questions

Director Øystein Karlsen drinking shots of vodka between questions at the Q&A for his film, Fuck Up.

By the end of Day 7, fatigue hit hard. I didn’t even have the energy to indulge in the midnight movie slot. It’s possible that the issue, however, was the fact that I saw Hellfjord and Danger 5 back-to-back: both are miniseries, not films, so watching all these TV-paced episodes at the end of the day was extremely tiring, no matter how fun they were. Danger 5 may have only taken 75 minutes to play through, but Hellfjord was a whopping 3.5 hours of dedication. Yet I persevered!

AMERICAN SCREAM
From the makers of the delightful Best Worst Movie comes this even more delightful documentary about homemade Halloween haunted houses. The film focuses on one New England neighborhood where three families go all-out to give a thrill to their neighbors on October 31st of every year. It’s a story about community, genial obsession, and great creativity; the result is strangely engrossing and a joy to watch. Keep an eye out for this one.

FUCK UP
Fuck Up was yet another crime-gone-wrong film from this year’s FF2012 lineup (I think there were at least a dozen of them), but it was one I rather enjoyed. The tone was levened with a good sense of humor, and the characters had a nice balance of humanity, skeeziness, and a hint of absurdity. (I learned from the Q&A after the film that a minor subplot involving meat smuggling between Sweden and Norway is actually a real thing. “Don’t patronize our smuggling routes!” cried the director as we giggled.)

HELLFJORD
Hellfjord is probably best described as Hot Fuzz set in Norway. Told as a seven-part TV miniseries, the story follows a city cop who falls into local disfavor over an incident involving a horse, who is then sent to a distant rural town named Hellfjord while he waits to be fired. He figures that, if he does a bang-up job in Hellfjord before he gets fired, he might be able to save his job. Thus begins the drama of a hyper-driven cop trying to make headway against the extremely relaxed and suspicious locals. (I’m not kidding. Hot Fuzz in Norway.) Soon, the local fishery is looking suspicious. As derivative as the core concept might be, Hellfjord is a lot of fun, and it certainly goes in some novel directions once it gets going.

DANGER 5
This one is a 6-part Australian web series that plays a bit like Venture Brothers in live action. The opening scene of the whole series involves a talking Nazi dog and Nazi blimps stealing the Eiffel Tower. The series is silly and deep as a puddle, but it’s a fun spin around the world of retro-spy stylings and it’s often hilarious. Have a look for yourself.

OTHER ZANINESS

I learned that, while I was watching ABCs of Death on Day 6, Terence Malik apparently showed up at Fantastic Fest and filmed a scene or two for a new film. I’m crushed that I missed it.

Cloud Atlas showed as a secret screening while I was watching Hellfjord. The Wachowski siblings were there, and I heard that Andy Wachowski spouted this gem: “This is my sister, Lana. We were formerly known as the Wachowski brothers, but now we’re known as Wachowski Starship.” Word outside the theater is that the movie was generally well-liked or even loved, but that the Q&A afterward was amazing. You can watch the whole Q&A right here.

The music from the accordion scene of Holy Motors showed up online. The music is glorious, but not quite as glorious as actually hearing it in the context of the film. I believe that one scene is the thing that emerged as the favorite 3 minutes of film from the entire festival, for everyone.

TwitchFilm started a thing called Drunk Reviews, wherein Todd Brown 1) makes a film director imbibe at least 5 shots of hard alcohol, 2) makes the film director review their own movie in their native language, 3) cranks the resulting review through Google Translate to put it into English, and 4) posts the nigh-unintelligible result. The first victim I saw at Fantastic Fest was Javier Diment (director of Memories of Death, who also licked everyone at the Highball after his review). The second victim was Øystein Karlsen, who was drinking the shots between questions at the Q&A for Fuck Up (see photo above). I am amused and slightly terrified at this project.

Even while still sober, however, Øystein Karlsen was a hoot. I believe the quote of the day was, “Please don’t judge Norway by its food, because the fish you will be eating has been dead a long, long time.”

New Geek Life: Fantastic Fest Rundown

On the latest episode of The Geek Life, the fine gentlemen indulge me as I blather on about Fantastic Fest and its amazing slate of films. Have a listen!

Fantastic Fest 2012: Day 6

Fernanda Urrejola and Ernesto Diaz Espinosa

Fernanda Urrejola and Ernesto Diaz Espinosa (lead actress and director, respectively, from Bring Me the Head of Machine Gun Woman)

Day 6 of Fantastic Fest was a light one for me. I deliberately skipped out on the first film timeslot of the day so I could get some PowerPoint Karaoke work done, and I split immediately after the final film. However, since the first two things I did see were a program of animated shorts and an anthology film in 26 parts, I felt like I’d somehow crammed about 40 movies into my head that day. Light, indeed!

DRAWN AND QUARTERED (animated shorts program)
I always love the animated films that are dug up by the Fantastic Fest folks, and this year was no different. Everyone loved one called “Attack of the Killer Mutant Chickens”, which was animated like a mid-1980s kids’ cartoon. “Tram” was also a favorite, a saucy and strangely cute short about a female tram driver fantasizes about the businessmen who board her vehicle. I was fond of “Bendito Machine IV”, which was a gorgeously animated, dialogue-free semi-fantasy about transportation and pollution. But everything paled against Disney’s “Paperman”, which will be screening soon in front of Wreck-It Ralph; it’s so gorgeous and sweet that your eyes will probably leak.

ABCs OF DEATH
I love the concept of the ABCs of Death. The producers contacted 26 horror directors from around the globe, gave each one a letter of the alphabet, asked each director to choose a word starting with that letter, and then gave them a small budget to make a 5-minute film featuring a death related to that word. Thus, the film starts with a segment called “A is for Apocalypse” and goes from there. As you’d expect from a project of this nature, some shorts are better (and/or crazier) than others. However, the overall experience is a lot of fun, if your tastes bend in such a direction. I’m not sure what sort of release it will get, but it’s quite likely I’ll buy this one on DVD.

THE MAFU CAGE
This was one of a trio of vintage horror films brought to the festival by Kier-La Janisse, author of House of Psychotic Women. I’ve always wanted to see The Mafu Cage, but never managed to get my hands on a copy. I’m pleased to say that it’s quite a film, and it’s worth some work to locate. The plot centers around two adult sisters, the older of whom is the caretaker for her younger, mentally unstable counterpart. The film focuses on the difficulty and pitfalls of being such a caretaker, as well as a powerhouse performance from Carol Kane, who plays the younger sister. The film is additionally interesting in that it was also directed and produced by women (Karen Arthur and Diana Young, respectively), which was kind of a novel thing in the late 1970s. Really good stuff.

MIAMI CONNECTION
Back in the 1980s, a tae kwon do grandmaster named Y. K. Kim decided to personally fund and direct a movie. The movie dropped quickly into obscurity until a print was unearthed by the Alamo Drafthouse, when they purchased a large collection of random film cannisters. The film is what you’d expect from a person who is not a filmmaker: filled to the brim with atrocious acting, writing, and excess. But what a failure! Miami Connection is one of the most deliciously awesome-bad films I’ve seen in a long time, and I want to show it to everyone. The plot somehow involves a cocaine-stealing ninja biker gang who have a vendetta against a goody-good synthpop band trained in tae kwon do (led by Y. K. Kim, of course). Despite the title, this all happens in Orlando. Seriously, if you love so-bad-they’re-great films, this is a gem.

OTHER CRAZINESS
The Alamo Drafthouse not only unearthed the film Miami Connection, they managed to re-unite the band featured in the film. Dragon Sound actually played live at one of the parties. WHOA.

Reminder: You Want to See PowerPoint Karaoke

That’s right! PowerPoint Karaoke’s triumphant return to the Bryant Lake Bowl stage is a mere day away! Is there a better way to spend the night of Thursday, September 27th than laughing at PowerPoint presentations? Of course there is, but you probably can’t have it for under $10!

This month’s presenters are: Jill Bernard, Joseph Scrimshaw, Eric Heiberg, and Sharon Stiteler!

I won’t be there, as am in Texas right now, but MY SLIDES WILL BE IN MINNESOTA!

Tickets are $7 ($5 with a MN Fringe button), and can be purchased at the Bryant Lake Bowl website!
http://bryantlakebowl.com/calendar/shows/powerpoint-karaoke-7

If you like doing the Facebook thing, you can do that here:
http://www.facebook.com/#!/events/355577351193652/

Please attend! Laugh! Drink beer!